By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – In recruiting it is all about finding the right fit, the right situation, the right place.
It took a little bit of time but Oliver Martin finally found all of those things.
Martin ended a whirlwind recruiting process on Monday when he committed to Michigan.
The four-star wide receiver and top-ranked prospect in Iowa made his commitment to the Wolverines official on Wednesday signing a national letter of intent in front of family and friends at West High.
“It’s really exciting for me, it’s a long time coming,” Martin said. “It was a hard decision for me there were a lot of great schools but I finally came to a decision on Michigan and I am really excited about it.”
Martin watched his recruiting stock explode over the summer, picking up offers from some of the top programs in the country.
The recruiting intensified this winter after a senior season in which the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Martin led the state with 85 receptions and 1,272 yards and snagged 14 touchdown grabs while helping West High return to the state title game for the first time since 1999.
Martin took official visits to Iowa, Notre Dame and Michigan State before using his last visit on a trip to Ann Arbor the weekend before Wednesday’s national signing day.
The official visit to Michigan came after Martin unofficially visited during the summer and showed him everything he needed to see.
Martin committed to Michigan and head coach Jim Harbaugh on his visit.
The pledge came complete with a celebratory leap into a swimming pool for Martin, Harbaugh and assistant coach Pep Hamilton.
“I hadn’t been there in a while and hadn’t really had an in-depth look at Michigan,” Martin said. “Getting there and having more of an in-depth look and seeing all the coaches again and all the people in the program whether it’s guys in the program or commits it seemed the right fit for me.”
Martin chose the Wolverines over list of suitors that reads like a who’s who of college football powers.
Programs like Auburn, UCLA, BYU, Wisconsin and Oregon joined Iowa, Michigan State and Notre Dame in taking a run at the Iowa Gatorade player of the year and No. 42 ranked prospect in the country by 247Sports.
The recruiting frenzy and list of offers didn’t come as a surprise to West High coach Garrett Hartwig.
“There are reasons that people have success in this world and it’s because they do things that aren’t visible,” Hartwig said. “Oliver is a kid that put in hours and hours and hours of work when nobody was watching. The standard that he held himself too was higher than any standard any coach could hold him to because we didn’t even know ourselves how hard he worked.”
Martin closed his prep career the most productive pass catcher in state history.
A four-year starter, Martin caught a state-record 239 passes in his career and his 3,449 receiving yards are the most for a Class 4A player.
His 33 career touchdowns are a 4A best and rank third all-time.
“We will look back on Oliver as a great example for guys because that’s what he is,” Hartwig said. “He is a special talent, special player but the best thing about Oliver is he is a great teammate.”
With his college plans locked up Martin is looking forward to getting back to a normal schedule.
He will compete in the district swimming meet this Saturday and needs to get caught up on his academics after his busy visit schedule.
“I’m looking forward to getting my normal schedule back and getting my focus back on school,” Martin said. “Getting to swim and getting better at football. I’m just excited to get back to my main focuses.”
Martin’s dive into the pool with Harbaugh was a “spurt of the moment” thing Martin said.
It may not be the last time he leaps into a pool at Michigan.
Martin said Harbaugh left the door open for Martin to continue his swimming career in college.
“I could see myself potentially doing that,” Martin said. “The problem is there is just a little overlap so I would come in if I wanted to and swing the sprint events at the end of the season.”